CATIATM's SparkPeople Blog CATIATM's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Update I know. I've been a ghost. Thank you to everyone who has tried to reach out to me. I've been in a very dark place for several months, and every time I think I'm coming up for air, something else happens. But believe me, I do appreciate your kind thoughts and caring efforts and apologise for my surly silence. <BR> <BR> It’s hard to believe this year is almost at a close. Life hasn't been great lately, and every time I think I've collected myself to send out a "hi all" note, something else... Thu, 1 Dec 2016 16:07:01 EST Living the Good Life I've been working to improve my life circumstances in every respect. Reading about this couple inspired me to make small changes. Helen and Scott Nearing wrote the book on simple living, going to extremes I don't think most of us much fancy. However, in her memoir, Helen gives the following prescription for happiness and contentment: <BR> <BR> Do the best you can, whatever arises. <BR> Be at peace with yourself. <BR> Find a job you enjoy. <BR> Live simply; get rid of clutter. <BR> Contact ... Wed, 6 Jul 2016 03:42:41 EST 2016: Off to an Uneven Start but a Fun Day Today I haven’t blogged in a while. 2016 got off to an exciting start. I had been in pain for a couple of months, and one day in early December, I stood up from my desk to go to a meeting and felt such searing pain that I passed out. <BR> <BR> That was a long day, and I told people that after that initial bout of agony, I handled things rather well. However, I later learned from the doctor that they had given my morphine! So I guess I need to stop telling the story that way. <em>2</em> Or... Sun, 7 Feb 2016 19:10:37 EST Remembrance Day <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Today is Remembrance Day. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> and Veterans' Day. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thank you to all those who served. <BR> <BR> ************************** <BR> <BR> And on a totally different, silly note, som... Wed, 11 Nov 2015 08:28:50 EST Getting Settled In That’s right. I moved to N’Djamena, Chad. Where is that, you wonder? <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Unfortunately, I arrived soon after several deadly Boko Haram attacks. Arriving in the midst of the chaos was a real challenge. My company is running a skeleton crew, and I’m covering my own position plus two more. The hours are long, but the work is interesting. <BR> <BR> I mostly just go from home to work, bu... Mon, 2 Nov 2015 15:11:19 EST Disappointed in Myself So, I think anyone who follows my life knows that I have a difficult work situation. I work with some of the nastiest people around, and every day is a struggle to defend myself from emotional abuse, verbal attacks, and damage to my professional reputation. <BR> <BR> I've tried to channel my frustration into self improvement, both for my own sanity and because I know it would really frost these miserable jerks' doughnuts if I came though with integrity and positive outcomes. <BR> <BR> As... Fri, 2 May 2014 04:25:57 EST Elections in Afghanistan <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Today was a historic day in Afghanistan. Despite death threats from the Taliban and a surge in violence in recent weeks, Afghans defiantly went to the polls in greater numbers than predicted to cast their votes and elect a new president. <BR> <BR> The Taliban threatened to cut off the fingers of anyone caught voting (the tell-tale ink does not come off easily), and they were especially hateful in their rhetoric... Sat, 5 Apr 2014 16:47:56 EST Day 1 of 100 As I said in yesterday's blog, I'm beginning a 100 Day Challenge today. <BR> <BR> <em>216</em> <em>362</em> <em>311</em> <em>321</em> <em>521</em> <em>321</em> <em>311</em> <em>362</em> <em>216</em> <BR> <BR> <em>240</em> 's Starting Stats: <BR> <BR> Weight: 277.4 <BR> BMI: 47.6 <BR> First <em>473</em> : 56 <BR> Waist: 54 <BR> Second <em>473</em> : 58.5 <BR> Dress size: 26 <BR> Total Pounds Lost: 0 <BR> Total Inches Lost: 0 <BR> <BR> <em>321</em> <em>249</em> <em>521... Sun, 23 Mar 2014 02:46:32 EST Afghanistan and Promises This has been a tough year. I work with angry, bitter, broken people, and I feel like I wake up every day with a little less sunshine in my soul. During Lent, I've focused on cleansing my thoughts and looking for goodness and joy in every day life here. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, was hard. The bad guys tried to assassinate an Afghan, a friend. They missed him but killed another Afghan, also a good man, a father of five, and a friend. The Afghans who are genuinely trying to build the country a... Sat, 22 Mar 2014 14:36:55 EST Tough Times "Everything happens for a reason .... Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can come together." <BR> ~Marilyn Monroe <BR> <BR> It's been a rough few months. First, I got hired for a job. 54 WEEKS later, I discovered that they'd ACCIDENTALLY hired a second person for the job. Crazy enough? They then made us share the job, and the other person is a sneaky pete who lacks integrity. So it's not friendly atmosphere at all. <BR> <BR> I work for someone who dislikes women and has... Sun, 16 Feb 2014 02:19:11 EST Life in Afghanistan <img src=""> <BR> <img src="">Can you see me down there? <em>20</em> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=""> <BR> Tent City <BR> This place has 30,000 and is a good-sized town. Many people live in tents with no indoor plumbing. We share toilets and showers. Good times. <BR> <BR>... Sun, 27 Oct 2013 02:47:55 EST Catching up on News <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Greetings from Afghanistan! I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately. I struggle to describe my life and this place, and I work so much that when I’m finally free, I don’t want to sit in front of a computer even one more second, but thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has thoughtfully left messages and goodies. They are all very much appreciated. <BR> <BR> So ... where to begin? <BR> <BR> I finished my ... Mon, 14 Oct 2013 02:10:08 EST Dignified Transfers <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I know people are waiting for my blog update on Afghanistan. I have much to share, but the intense workload leaves little personal time for contemplation. <BR> <BR> However, I have attended three dignified transfers for fallen American soldiers and marines in the past 24 hours and needed to take a moment to remind myself - and all of you - how privileged our lives are. Here, military and civilians work long hour... Sun, 6 Oct 2013 13:36:16 EST Moving On Hello! <BR> <BR> Well, my year in America is at an end. As many of you know, I am a large-scale project manager and move here and there for one to three-year contracts. Living in Washington has certainly been exciting, but I don't know how much more toxic politicking I can take and need to move some place safer. To that end, I will be leaving for Afghanistan in a few days. <em>20</em> I'm looking forward to the work, although I know it's going to be grueling. I do not know if I will... Wed, 31 Jul 2013 20:53:31 EST Finding my groove It's been a long while since I put my thoughts down in blog form. I struggled this winter, dealing with, I think, depression. Coming out the other side of a dark time, I'm evaluating where I am and making plans to get trucking towards reaching my goals. <BR> <BR> I reached my all-time high weight this winter, seeing a number I never thought I'd see. In fact, I didn't even know my scale went that high! <em>40</em> At first, I felt like giving up, because the gap between where I am and ... Sun, 16 Jun 2013 11:54:48 EST Excited About Life I'm doing well. I think I'm so overwhelmed by everything in my life that I have just gone sort of zen. Nothing fazes me these days. <BR> <BR> I got my teeth checked/cleaned after having gum surgery in August. They found decay under a filling, so unfortunately, my big mouth is about to cost me even more $$. Happily, the surgical site has healed well after giving me problems, so I am pleased about that. <BR> <BR> I also got the shoulder checked out. It's been a month since I injured it s... Sat, 29 Sep 2012 09:28:10 EST Update I know I haven't been around much. I moved house, which went badly, The movers failed to show up - twice - and when they finally moved me, they stole my iPod and broke a bunch of things. I dislocated my shoulder unpacking, and now I'm sick (sinus infection). Although I'm being billed for it, the internet is not working in my home, so I can't get online much. I also changed jobs and started a masters program. <BR> <BR> Sooo .... life's been stressful, and I'm sorry haven't been aroun... Tue, 18 Sep 2012 14:01:38 EST Help Me Help Cracker Barrel! I've only been to Cracker Barrel twice in my life, which is probably a good thing, because it's definitely not diet food. What it is is down home, uber deliciousness, melt in your mouth goodness, Heaven on a plate! <em>4</em> <BR> <BR> The first time I was there, I had the beyond amazing sweet potato pancakes. Oh my goodness! They were so good that I didn't even bother with the syrup - I couldn't imagine covering up such savoury succulence. There was a party going on in my mouth, and ... Mon, 21 May 2012 14:39:22 EST ARRRRGH We There Yet? - The Flying Pirate Half Marathon OK, so I'm doing these out of order. The previous blog was about the Country Music 1/2 in Nashville. A week earlier, I headed for the Outer Banks <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> to do the First Flight 5k and then the Flying Pirate Half Marathon. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I hadn't been in North... Sat, 5 May 2012 23:25:14 EST Left, right, breathe. Left, right, pray! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My friend and I met up in Nashville to do the Country Music Half Marathon. She loves country music, and this is her favorite race. I tolerate some country music in small doses, but - as everyone knows - I'm a complete bling ho' and it's always more fun to race with a buddy. <BR> <BR> The hotel offers a shuttle from the airport. I called, and a nice man picked me up. We got to chatting, and I just adored his Te... Sat, 28 Apr 2012 18:17:55 EST Hot Totties Rock - Cat's Perspective <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My spark buddy Beth and I signed up to do the Virginia Beach 1/2 marathon relay this past weekend. You can check out her blog here: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4465911 </link> <BR> <BR> And yes, the cheesy grinned moron on her background page is none other than moi. All I can say in my defense is that it was quite warm, I'd just worked hard, and I'm w... Tue, 6 Sep 2011 15:16:28 EST Cat's Fat Farm Update <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So I've been at Cat's Pretend Fat Farm for three days now. I'm eating on plan, walking in the morning, knee-habbing, doing a fitness video in the afternoon, and then walking again in the evening before easing my muscles in the hot tub and heading for the showers. <em>20</em> I had envisioned creating 3500-calorie deficits Biggest Lower style, but that (I realise now) is insane! <BR> <BR> Ok, so maybe I'd get v... Tue, 16 Aug 2011 11:39:31 EST My Own Private Fat Farm As many of you know, I'm currently recovering from multiple surgeries in June and looking for a job. Yesterday, at 4:17, I was offered a job in Washington, DC. <em>224</em> <em>408</em> <BR> <BR> Don't celebrate just yet. I'm in Philadelphia, alone, no car, can't drive, and I need to be in Washington on Monday. The company said they would arrange my work papers next week, so I set that aside and got busy finding immediately available furnished housing and trying to figure out how to g... Sat, 13 Aug 2011 09:28:43 EST The witch, the wizard, and the walk Greetings Sparkiverse! <BR> <BR> I'm celebrating four years of sparking today. I know! It's crazy! <BR> <BR> So, here it is -- <BR> <BR> THE WITCH <em>424</em> <BR> <BR> I'm doing well, thank you for asking. <em>211</em> After regaining most of the weight I'd lost over the first three years, I got super serious after my knee surgery, and have <em>212</em> <em>253</em> 24 lbs. in the past 5 1/2 weeks. I hit my first 10% goal this weekend and am pushing to make my next one by t... Mon, 8 Aug 2011 14:19:56 EST Accountability - August After having knee surgery at the end of June, I took an honest look at myself and didn't like what I saw. I was beyond morbidly obese - with a BMI of 50. I was struggling in almost every area of my life. <BR> <BR> I found myself an eye lash's width from 290 lbs. Through July, I started Atkins and began aggressively "knee-habbing". After a month of hard work, I am happy to report that I have made progress. <BR> <BR> July 1: 289.6 <BR> August 1: 270 <em>224</em> <BR> <BR> July BMI: 4... Wed, 3 Aug 2011 08:57:20 EST Why am I committed to losing weight? In response to CERIUSLY's assignment, I am focusing on why I need to lose weight. <BR> <BR> I recently gained back almost all the weight I'd lost over the last three years. I won't explain it, and I'm not going to apologize for it. It happened. Let's move on. <BR> <BR> I am dangerously overweight. Last month, my BMI was 50! Even now, it's in the high 40s. My waist is over four feet around and more than double what it should be. I am at a high risk for a stroke or heart attack. My ... Fri, 8 Jul 2011 08:32:35 EST Fat, Salt, and Sugar Alter Brain Chemistry Ever wonder why you couldn't seem to put down the fork? This is one more reason I really limit processed food in my diet - those sneaky buggers! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>t/article/2009/04/26/AR2009042602711_3<BR>.html </link> Thu, 7 Jul 2011 09:10:11 EST My reasons to lose weight - #1 <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Sometimes I feel all fired up about what I'm doing, and other times, I lose the plot a bit. I get distracted by obstacles, life events, or feel that I "deserve" a break and sabotage myself. What I "deserve" is to be healthy and happy, and morbid obesity isn't going to get me there. <BR> <BR> I've decided to catalog all the reasonsI need to stay the course and compile them to remind myself when I get down and dis... Tue, 5 Jul 2011 11:38:42 EST Accountability - July Hi, again! <em>213</em> <BR> <BR> In June, I acknowledged how much I've backslid during a stressful and chaotic time in my life. My June stats were pretty grim: <BR> <BR> June weight: 287 lbs. <BR> waist: 54 inches <BR> % lard: 52 <BR> BMI: 50 <BR> <BR> I had knee surgery a few days ago and gained 11 lbs. of water and inflammation, which I am still losing. Still, I've made some progress: <BR> <BR> current weight: 283.8 <BR> waist: 53 inches <BR> % lard: 50.6 <BR> BMI: 48.7 <BR... Sun, 3 Jul 2011 17:12:06 EST Surgery I had my knee "done" yesterday. It was a long day, because the surgeon had an emergency. I hated waiting, and as the hours dragged on, I got thirstier and thirstier, but I was happier to be the person waiting than the person having the emergency, so it was ok. My brother kindly took off work to travel, collect me, get me to the hospital, and wait with me. He has an open jeep, which I didn't think about beforehand. I left the house looking decent and arrived looking like Amy Winehouse aft... Thu, 30 Jun 2011 08:53:12 EST New surgery date My surgery date has changed again. I'm now scheduled for knee surgery on June 29th. I know! What a saga! I'm glad that it's sooner than the previous date of July 8th, but it is a bit tricky, because no one will be around to care for me afterwards. My mother enlisted a nice neighbor's help, so things aren't impossible, but getting around - especially the intense physical therapy afterwards - is going to take some doing. Luckily, people I wasn't expecting to help have stepped up in a bi... Fri, 24 Jun 2011 11:23:38 EST My knee: the saga continues I am on leave from work until I get my knee fixed. I was supposed to have the surgery on June 10th, but I was too ill from the gum surgery gone wrong and had to cancel it. That surgeon can't schedule me in again until August, so I started over today, seeing a new surgeon this morning. Everything went swimmingly, and I was schedued for July 1st. So yay for that. <BR> <BR> Then the PA called shortly after we left the office and told me that there had been a mistake. *cue the music* The 1... Mon, 20 Jun 2011 11:35:14 EST Happy Father's Day To all the dads of the world who took the time to really be there for their children and develop them into responsible, caring, productive citizens of the world - thank you. Men sometimes get a bad rap on the child rearing front, and let's face it - to some extent they've earned it. Men often act like women get drafted and they volunteer when it comes to raising kids, and too many of them never man up. Parenthood: it doesn't end with conception. So to all the dads who have put their famil... Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:24:21 EST Accountability As some of you noticed, I reset my ticker to reflect where I really am right now, and that is squarely in Fattyville. I've been upset and frustrated for the past few months, under a lot of stress and in pain, and unable to be as active as I'm used to being. I took my eye off the prize and am ready to start trudging that weary road again. <BR> <BR> So here it is in black and white: <BR> <BR> current weight: 287 lbs. <BR> waist: 54 inches <BR> % lard: 52 <BR> BMI: 50 <BR> <BR> I will upd... Sat, 18 Jun 2011 15:09:01 EST Gruesome Gums On May 18th, I had routine gum surgery. On the 20th, I said good-bye to Beirut <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> and flew to the U.S. for knee surgery. It seemed so simple, and yet -- <BR> <BR> I developed a nasty infection in the gum. My cheek swelled and turned black, and the g... Sat, 11 Jun 2011 09:26:57 EST My knee and my life <img src=""> <BR> <BR> You will never know how gratified I was to be the Motivator of the Day the other day. (Seriously? Have they run out of people?) <em>198</em> I am such a mess right now that I don't know how I could be motivating anyone else. <BR> <BR> 2011 opened with a disappointing trip to Walt Disneyworld - not completing a race for the first time ever, followed by pneumonia, strep throat, a stress fracture, and now a torn... Sat, 16 Apr 2011 14:18:53 EST Torn ACL - Nothing's Flying <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I've been in pain for a while. Five weeks ago, an x-ray showed a stress fracture. So I've been taking it easy, waiting for it to heal. but the knee is still really swollen and painful, so I got an MRI. The surgeon called. <BR> <BR> Bad news. I have a ruptured ACL. I'm supposed to fly to North Carolina tonight for the Flying Pirate. When the surgeon first told me I had "damage" on the phone, i asked him if I... Thu, 7 Apr 2011 15:22:05 EST 5% Challenge I am determined to lose weight this year. I am so sick of being stared at on the street, wondering if a chair will support me, and sitting on sidelines, watching life pass me by because I'm too tired to participate. <BR> <BR> I started Atkins almost two weeks ago and have been doing well -- I am down 12 lbs, which is amazing for me. I had a weak moment in the grocery store today and wanted carbs so badly, but I want to be slender even more, so I didn't give in. <BR> <BR> I often talk ab... Wed, 23 Feb 2011 11:40:16 EST Hogwarts Whole Foods Challenge In Hogwarts this week, the Faculty challenged the students to eat as many whole foods as possible. I'm in Induction in Atkins at the moment, and it's not a 100% fit, but here's my meal plan for the week: <BR> <BR> Monday <BR> Breakfast: an omelet with bacon, cheese, broccoli, and tomato cooked in olive oil <BR> Snack: egg salad with parsley <BR> Lunch: ground beef <BR> Dinner: roasted chicken <BR> <BR> Tuesday <BR> Breakfast: lamb chops <BR> Snack: celery with cream cheese <BR> Lunch: grou... Mon, 21 Feb 2011 13:26:57 EST Induction - Day 1 I've just about started Induction several times now, but something has come up each time. We have a holiday here on Monday, and I'm finally over being sick. Soooo ... today was <em>411</em> . <BR> <BR> So far, so good. <em>334</em> Wish me luck! Sat, 12 Feb 2011 11:56:39 EST Operation America 2011 <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I needed a little pick-me-up after recent events, and I got to thinking about how far I need to go to reach my goal weight. As I thought about the journey, I imagined it as a literal trip. I thought it might be fun to physically represent this metaphorical journey, so ... <BR> <BR> I'm going to walk/wog across America! (And maybe parts of Canada, if it works out.) I plan to begin next week when I'm (hopefully)... Mon, 24 Jan 2011 16:25:49 EST My Holiday Whew. Ok. I've been putting this one off because I wasn't sure how much I wanted to say or how I even felt about things. But here goes -- <BR> <BR> I've been talking about the Goofy since 2008. I signed up in spring, 2010 when my knee was looking strong and all things seemed possible. Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan, and my knee has never completely come back. I only walk now, not "wog", and the knee struggles with anything more than eight or nine miles. So my 1/2s a... Thu, 20 Jan 2011 10:43:35 EST It Was a Dark and Stormy Night .... <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Summer lasted until a few weeks ago, but winter arrived with a vengeance yesterday. I wish I could find the words to convey the energy in the air. The rain falls so heavily that all the roads are flooded, and the wind whips about as though determined to uproot everything on the ground. Everywhere, one sees broken branches and uprooted trees. Every time I see more patio furniture fly by, I think , Aunit Em! Aun... Sat, 11 Dec 2010 15:06:14 EST A Balancing Act When I was racing every weekend in November, I was thinking ahead to the big Goofy race weekend in Walt Disneyworld in January. I know I'm not ready, and I've almost accepted that Goofy is going to have to wait until another year when I'm healed and fit. Still, I had intended to go full monty this month, making training my top priority and go into WDW weekend in the best shape I can be. <BR> <BR> At the same time, it's been a strangely crazy intense time in every aspect of my life. The Sp... Tue, 7 Dec 2010 07:29:53 EST Philadelphia Half Marathon <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Continuing my race-a-weekend pace, I raced the Philadelphia half on Sunday. I had such a severe migraine the day before that I was unsure I'd race. I went to bed in the afternoon, slept through dinner, the night, and my 3 a.m. get up time, waking instead at 4:45 for a 5 a.m. departure! Yikes! I dashed around, and my poor mother drove me into the city at o-dark-hundred. I didn't even have time to get nervous, b... Tue, 23 Nov 2010 08:45:26 EST Outer Banks Half Marathon <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <em>221</em> YAR! <BR> <BR> As many of you know, I was supposed to be in Harrisburg this weekend. It would have been great, but some other year perhaps. In the meantime, on the spur of the moment, I decided to do the Outer Banks 1/2 Marathon because I was in Washington, DC for work and thought that North Carolina was "close". What can I say? I live in a country the size of a bread box, and it's distorted ... Tue, 16 Nov 2010 06:07:15 EST Beirut Virtual 10k Thanks to everyone who read my blog yesterday and is either joining me or cheering. Thanks for helping turn a major frownie into a smile! <em>39</em> <em>220</em> <em>30</em> <BR> <BR> I finished in under two hours. For an aging chubby, that's pretty good. I texted back and forth with my racing friends the whole time. They all did great! Then I sat in the steam room and pretended they were all there, too. <BR> <BR> I hope lots of you decide to run/jog/walk/stroll the Beirut Virtual... Sun, 7 Nov 2010 05:38:20 EST To All My Sparkfriends: Run the Beirut 10k With Me! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The Beirut races are tomorrow. Along with all my friends here, I signed up for the 10k. I didn't know how excited I was to do this race until the company's security chief said it was a no-go. At first, I thought I was ok with the decision, but as the day wore on, I just got angrier and more upset. I met one of my friends for lunch yesterday, still feeling salty and bitter two days later. We talked about all th... Sat, 6 Nov 2010 09:57:33 EST Treats Not Tricks This Halloween! I took my monthly measurements today. I only lost a few pounds all month and have been cycling the same few pounds for a while now. But the good news? I'm down 9 inches! People have been saying I look better, but I thought they were just being encouraging. Maybe it's true? Dare I hope? <BR> <BR> Happy Halloween, everyone! <em>431</em> Sun, 31 Oct 2010 01:39:04 EST Hershey Weekend <img src=""> <BR> <BR> One needn't be insane to travel 30+ hours for a weekend just to turn around and travel 30+ hours back, but is sure helps! I signed up for the inaugural Hershey Half in gorgeous PA when the knee seemed to be doing better. I hoped to see FLORIDAFAN and DANI1855, and FOODGIRL even thought she might come. (You know that combining racing with seeing Sparkfriends has become a bit of a passion of mine - hee hee!) Sadl... Sun, 10 Oct 2010 06:50:44 EST